Special Winter Backpacking Trip

There were four booked for the annual bothy weekend from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th March. Cornel, Miriam and myself were joined by Miriam’s brother, Frankie for his first (and possibly last) bothy experience.

After a good deal of consultation earlier in the week, we decided to spend the weekend at Glenbuck Bothy, just off the Great Glen.  Cornel did the driving, and with the sunny weather we had a very pleasant drive up to the highlands. The views of the Glencoe mountains were spectacular.  We stopped at the Green Welly for a quick coffee and then it was on to Morrisons in Fort William to stock up with a late breakfast.

We finally parked the car at the Aberchalder swing bridge just North of Invergarry and took a steep track over a hill into Glen Buck and the Calder Burn.  The track was well made as it had been used to install a small hydro scheme near the bothy. Fortunately, the work had been completed and there was little evidence of the pipework.

Leaving Aberchalder   Glenbuck Bothy   In the comfort of the bothy

It took us just over two hours to walk-in and the weather remained bright and sunny. The bothy was well appointed with two downstairs rooms, each with a fireplace and attic rooms for sleeping. It was going to be a very cold night, so we spent some time gathering firewood. We had the bothy to ourselves. Frankie kept us entertained with some old tunes on his mouth organ.

On Saturday the cloud had arrived, but it remained dry. We set off to climb Carn Dearg (N of Glen Eachach) at 815m. We were able to use a hydro track to gain some height, before we made a direct line for the summit.  The wind picked up and the snow on the ground got a little hard, which slowed us down. However, we made it to the summit with the aid of Cornel’s GPS. After a quick photo at the summit, we retraced our steps back down the hill.  A short time later the cloud cleared and we carried on back down to the bothy.

Ascending Carn Dearg   On Carn Dearg   The bothy fire

Once back at the bothy we cut up more firewood in preparation for the night ahead. Fortunately it was a little warmer than the previous night. Again, there were no other visitors and we made sure all the whisky was consumed.

On Sunday we were up early, had breakfast, filled in the bothy log book and on our way by 9am. It was a pleasant walk out and we were soon back at the car. A quick change and it was off to Fort Bill for another breakfast and then the long drive home.

Mark Setford

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Easter Weekend to Oban

(30th March to 2nd April)

There were 8 on the trip, Bob, Allan, Gordon, Andrew, Mark, Miriam, Iris and myself. Tom and Jean were supposed to be going but an accident at their company caused a last minute cancellation.  Over the weekend the weather was excellent, and Iris stayed in the vicinity of the Hotel as her knees were giving problems.

Galen Castle, Kerrera   Coeffin Castle   Coeffin Castle, Kerrera   Highest point on Kerrera   Kerrera Tearoom

On Saturday, 5 of us took the ferry to Kerrera and walked round the southern section, visiting ruined Gylen Castle and having lunch at the nearby but very remote tearoom. The Kings did their own thing which involved some televised football.

Lismore Ferry   Lismore Broch   Lismore Broch   Lismore Tearoom

On Sunday everyone except Iris boarded the ferry for Lismore and had an excellent walk to Tirefour Castle Broch on the east coast then continued over to the ruin of Castle Coeffin on the west, where we amazingly had a brief lie in the sun. On our way back the the ferry terminal at Achnacroish we stopped off at a tearoom near Balliveolan.

A great weekend in a reasonable hotel with unexpectedly good weather.

Ian Moffatt

Andy's Accordion

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